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Burma Opposition Condemns Military

RANGOON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Burma's opposition National League for Democracy
(NLD) on Saturday lashed out at the military government for recently
sentencing seven party members to long prison terms. 

The NLD said the sentencing was illegal, called for their members' immediate
release and the release of all other political prisoners. 

Last week Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) said it had
sentenced seven NLD members, including two who were elected as members of
parliament for the NLD in an annulled 1990 election, to long prison terms. 

The SPDC said they were charged with disturbing the public and law and order.
One was also charged with violating the gambling act. 

Six were sentenced to six year terms while the seventh was sentenced to eight

The SPDC said nothing about an eighth NLD member, Daw San San, also a member
of parliament, who was arrested at the same time. 

All eight were detained last month in connection with organisational trips,
planned by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to NLD offices in townships
on the outskirts of Rangoon. 

One of the meetings was allowed to take place, but the former ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) stopped several others. Club-wielding
officers pushed away supporters, set up barricades and trucked away dozens of
NLD members and supporters to prevent the meetings from taking place. 

The NLD statement issued on Saturday said the eight NLD members were just
carrying out the lawful tasks of a political party. 

``The authorities did not let the NLD nor the families of the detainees know
at all where they were taken, how they were kept and how they were doing,'' it

``The authorities did not inform their families of when, where and for how
long they would be put on trial,'' it said. 

The statement said lawyers arranged by the families of the detainees were not
allowed to plead for them and neither the lawyers nor their families were
informed of their sentencing until after it was completed. 

``Therefore the NLD strongly condemns unlawful restricting of NLD's lawful
organisational activities and sentencing of NLD members although they were not
guilty,'' it said. 

``In addition the NLD demands immediate release of these people and other
political prisoners.'' 

Suu Kyi has said there are about 1,000 NLD members and supporters imprisoned
in Burma. 

The NLD won a landslide victory in a 1990 election but the result was never
recognised by the SLORC. The SLORC was abolished and replaced by the SPDC in a
surprise government change last month. The top generals of the SPDC are the
same as those who ran the SLORC. 

07:49 12-13-97